One of my heroes, George Carlin, died yesterday of an apparent heart attack.Carlin meant a great deal to me, to American comedy and to America for that matter. (Check out this great piece from Time)
“I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.“
He became part of my life when I was in junior high school in the 70’s when my friend Dan Picht dropped the needle on his FM & AM album. We laughed all day, playing it over and over again. We adapted many of Carlin’s monologues and characters and performed them in school talent shows. Needless to say we solidified our place as class clowns and probably more importantly, the most liberal students at Holmes Junior High.
“In America, anyone can become President. That’s the problem.“
I still remember Carlin’s performances on the Midnight Special, Saturday Night Live and the countless times I saw him on stage. I also had the honor of meeting him personally. George and I share the same “skinny ass” and the need to wear “a fat wallet and three handkerchiefs.” He made me laugh and always made me think. He was also part of my work life in radio. His “Seven Dirty Words” are always referenced, though never actually part of any FCC policy. In fact, I’ve said at least 5 of them on the air…granted not always intentionally.
“There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is! 399,993 to 7. They must really be baaaad. They must be OUTRAGEOUS to be separated from a group that large.“
He’s also been part of my personal life, giving me the humorous ammunition I needed when discussing politics or social issues and, yes…plenty of drug jokes.
“Eventually, alas, I realized the main purpose of buying cocaine is to run out of it.“
I hadn’t kept up with Carlin as of late, but that’s okay. Though seeing him pop up in movies or on TV was always welcome, his impact on my life had been solidified long ago.
“Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.“